Richard Gere's father, Homer, taught him how to love and care for people, who might go ignored by others.
1980s heartthrob Richard Gere is a lot more than a good-looking actor. For years, he has championed various causes and is known for being a humanitarian. As famous as he is for portraying some of the most iconic roles in romantic movies, he is also known for adopting Buddhism and for fighting against AIDS. Not just that, he's also vocal about the human rights issues in Tibet and supports the leader of the religion, Dalai Lama, according to People magazine. The trust he has in his belief and the humanitarian work he does is all inspired by his father, Homer George Gere.
The Pretty Woman actor had humble beginnings and he made his name by working hard, also something he learned from his father, an insurance agent. His mother, Doris Ann Gere, was a homemaker and a member of the Methodist Church. The actor and his family, which included five siblings, grew up in Syracuse, New York. He had a keen interest in gymnastics and music from a young age, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
"My parents are extraordinary people," he told the Independent. "They gave me and my four brothers and sisters enormous opportunities in terms of education, in terms of music, in terms of anything we had an inclination towards somehow they found a way for that to happen. They found the teachers. We weren't brought up with a lot of money, and the scraping that it took to have an education, to have music teachers, was an extraordinary thing."
From his parents, he learned how to be a devoted family man. The 70-year-old is a father of two boys and is awaiting another child soon. But, the Unfaithful actor loves his dad so much that he named his eldest after him. He also learned kindness from his father, who started the Syracuse chapter of Meals on Wheels, a non-profit organization that focuses on senior isolation and hunger. The organization is now called National Foundation to End Senior Hunger (NFESH).
His father dedicated many hours to the organization and found an abandoned house for it to run from. In an advert, Richard talked about how his dad bought a hatchback and when he offered to get him a nicer car, his father refused, saying that the hatchback was the right height to put the meals in.
"It's the human interaction. They probably fed them much more than the food," said Richard. To this, Homer responded, "When you can see someone benefitting by your life in some way, you can't help but feel good about it."
Richard continued that the reason he was still a part of the organization was because of his father. "How he's impacted people is enormous," said the proud son.
To the actor, his father has "always been my hero. When neighbors needed them, he was there." After growing up on a steady diet of kindness, Richard himself continues to help other people throughout the world.
"My father, in about 10 days, is going to be 97 years old and his mind is better than mine," the Runaway Bride actor said at an event in May 2019, according to Pagesix. "He’s one of those people that his entire life … whenever someone else was suffering he was there to some degree. If he didn’t have money, it was a smile or an embrace or whatever he had to help out, and that was around me the whole time I was growing up."
Following in his father's footsteps towards helping people, the Chicago actor has traveled to El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua on humanitarian work, and these journeys opened his eyes to the pain in the world. "That did as much to change my political, social and spiritual thinking as anything in my life," he told the Independent. "That was deeply powerful to me." After trips to refugee camps with a doctor from El Salvador, he became a regular supporter of Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. Apart from endorsing these organizations, he continues to be a part of NFESH.
"At the end of our lives, I’m not going to be thinking about movies, believe me. I’m going to be thinking about how much love I was able to give and receive in return. I think we all should," Richard said, as per Pagesix.